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After Nationals Park Shooting, DC Police Union Blames ‘Elected Officials’ For Explosion In Violent Crime

Police officers patrol a street near the Nationals Park stadium as the game between the Washington Nationals and the San Diego Padres was suspended due to a shooting outside the ballpark in Washington, DC, on July 17, 2021. (Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images)

Nicole Silverio Contributor
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A Washington D.C. police union blamed “elected officials” for the spike in violent crime following a shooting outside of Nationals Park on Saturday.

“Welcome to Washington, D.C. Where violent crime permeates everything,” the DC Police Union tweeted Sunday. “It is a tragedy that elected officials won’t let us do our jobs.”

An active shooter opened fire Saturday on a street outside of Nationals Park, sparking a frightened crowd to flee the stadium. Police announced that three people were wounded in the attack and were hospitalized, CNN reported.

Ashan Benedict, the Metropolitan Police Department’s executive assistant chief of police, said that two vehicles were involved in the shooting, but authorities have only recovered one of the vehicles thus far, CNN reported. Police have released images of a gray Toyota Corolla with a missing hubcap on the vehicle’s left side. (RELATED: District Of Columbia Police Department Refuses To Say How They Are Preparing For Potential Unrest Around Election Day)

Scott Fear, the vice president of public safety and security for the Washington Nationals, said the fans inside the stadium sheltered in place for 10-15 minutes but were in no immediate danger, according to CNN.

Democratic D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and Mark D. Lerner, the managing owner of the Nationals, condemned gun violence and ensured that the city’s police department and stadium security will strive to protect the city from future shootings in a joint statement Sunday.

“We stand together against senseless acts of gun violence in the city we love,” the statement said. “Gun violence-no matter where it occurs in our city-is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) continues to work closely with Nationals security to ensure the continued safety of residents, fans, workers and all individuals in the area.”

The D.C. Council’s Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety cut more than $9.5 million from Bowser’s proposed $578 million police budget for the 2021 fiscal year, WUSA reported. In 2020, D.C. defunded the police department by $15 million following Black Lives Matter protests, according to The Washington Post.

Police budget cuts have reportedly frozen departments across the U.S. from hiring new officers because of budget limitations and a lack of funding, despite having a sufficient number of potential candidates. Police departments have also continuously struggled with recruiting new officers amid the crime spike in major cities.

Violent crime decreased by only 1% between 2020 and 2021 in D.C., with the number of homicides totaling 101 both on July 16, 2021, and the previous year, according to the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department.